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Florida State hasn’t sold out its allotment of tickets for the Rose Bowl

The most storied bowl game in college football is entering a new era in little over a week. For the first time ever, the Rose Bowl will serve as a national semifinal, meaning the Grandaddy of Them All isn’t the be-all-end-all, just an appetizer to something bigger. And because of that, we may see something else none of us have ever experienced before: empty seats.

It’s too far out to declare definitively that the Jan. 1 tilt between No. 2 Oregon and No. 3 Florida State will hold less than capacity, but Stewart Mandel of reported Monday that the Seminoles have not sold their allotment of 12,500 tickets.

Part of that is simple bad luck that neither the ‘Noles nor the Rose Bowl could ignore. Florida State is being asked to fly cross-country to a destination it visited a year ago. But part of it is a reality of this new era - the Rose Bowl as a steppingstone to something more meaningful.

“In a regular Rose Bowl we’re a contractual sellout,” said Rose Bowl chief administrative officer Kevin Ash told Mandel. “It’s the first time we’ve ever had to create a public sale, to go out and market tickets and sell tickets in the public sector … whereas the typical Rose Bowl, our partners took up two-thirds of the stadium.”

Because of the new regulations in the College Football Playoff era, where schools demanded bowls drop their ticket guarantees from 17,500 to 12,500 after schools routinely took a bath in unsold tickets, the Rose Bowl has 40,000 tickets to sell on the open market this year - a stark contrast to a year ago when Michigan State brought 60,000 fans on its own to Pasadena. Relatedly, tickets are going for below face value on

Still, the powers that be are chalking it up to the unusual circumstances that find Florida State making a repeat trip to southern California rather than fan apathy toward the Playoff. Sugar Bowl ticket prices are through the roof, and Florida State received more ticket requests for the national championship than it received purchases for the Rose Bowl.

Still, if the Rose Bowl is on your bucket list, you may never have a better opportunity. Well, at least until the next time the semifinals come to Pasadena.

“The Rose Bowl is the Rose Bowl,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock said. “The tradition and mystique will always carry it, along with the drama of the playoff.”